F15 Graduate

Martin Krejci

Martin comes from the Czech Republic, but hasn't limited himself to Central Europe and has worked or studied in 8 other countries. Three of those countries - Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom - have been added to the list since Martin set off on his journey as a Future 15 Graduate at Arla in 2018. A passionate chess player - a hobby he has managed to take with him everywhere he went - Martin is now back in Denmark and works at the company headquarters in Viby as a Project Manager.


How has the F15 Programme helped you grow your career?

Straightforward answer would be that the network I built throughout the programme in different countries and various departments, and the opportunity to build my reputation during the rotations has definitely helped my career in the short run.

However, even more valuable is the long run potential. The structured approach to training modules throughout the 2 years enabled me to continuously develop and get access to workshops that I would normally get my hands on much later in my career. Combine that with getting a mentor and working on projects that at first sight often seemed way out of my league. Those are 3 elements that shaped the way I think about my work, about the business, about leadership and about myself in ways that I believe give me a strong foundation of my career. After that it's just hard work :)


What has been your biggest challenge during the F15 Programme?

It has definitely been the change from student assignments or internships to F15 projects. As a student, even though you sometimes don't feel like it at the time, you always know what will happen next and what is the "right answer". The semester has a given length, the syllabus is set, the measures are clear. You can practice and always find the answer in the back of the book if needed. Being an intern is different, but still the tasks you are given are straightforward with a clear tangible deliverable more often than not - Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations being the stereotypical ones.

However, as a F15 you are given strategic projects where you often have to scope it yourself in order not to drown in it even before you start swimming. You of course have great colleagues and your manager that help you and guide you, but ultimately there is no curriculum, there is no "right answer in the back of the book", the "semester" is rather flexible depending on circumstances and the deliverables can turn out to be a skyscraper blueprint while you thought it would be an oil painting. And since F15 projects are often change projects, the results don't necessarily have to be tangible at all. It is a fun and exciting world, but a completely different one in which one needs to learn to function and find new ways to track positive development.

That has definitely been the biggest challenge for me, especially since knowing that I'm on the right track is quite important for me. But looking back at my 3 rotations and seeing that things I have developed live on gives me comfort that I managed to tackle the challenge well.

What is your next step?

After the Programme I have returned to the headquarters in Denmark where I joined a team called Reduced Complexity as a Project Manager. We are part of a company-wide transformation program called Calcium. The task of our team is to drive a profitable and harmonized portfolio of products across our markets. The way we go about it is making sure we are building on the capabilities we already have rather than needlessly adding new components into our production. And ultimately reducing the number of components we have in order to drive efficiencies. We have to coordinate across multiple local markets and production sites as well as global functions which makes the job demanding, but exciting every single moment.

Learn more about our F15 Graduate Programme